Monday, August 31, 2015

Ariel-Foundation Park

Photos by OHventures

501 S. Main Street
Mount Vernon, OH 43050
(740) 393-9577

Mount Vernon is the county seat of  Knox County, located in North Central Ohio, and is home to the brand new Ariel-Foundation Park, a 250-acre public green space built on the site of the former Pittsburgh Plate Glass (PPG) manufacturing plant (which closed in the 1970s).

This breathtaking park includes historic ruins of once-booming industrial buildings, with certain portions of the factory purposefully left standing. Crumbling brick walls, free-standing freight elevators, and other remnants are strewn across a large grassy field, with terraced landscaping and magnificent earthworks strategically placed throughout the park.

Intriguing art pieces are also found along the pathways of Ariel-Foundation Park, most of which pay homage to the glass industry. Large electric-blue-colored blown-glass and metal scaffolding create art that is incredible and thought-provoking.

The centerpiece of the park is the Rastin Observation Tower, a smokestack from the old factory that has been transformed into a must-see landmark. With a spiral metal staircase built around the 280-foot smokestack, park visitors can climb over 220 steps to reach the halfway point for a magnificent view of Mount Vernon.

Climbing to the top was a workout and a test of my bravery. You are totally safe and secure, but those who are wary of heights (like myself) might feel a bit uneasy. Scaling the stairs was definitely worth the sweat, as it provided a great photo op, and a unique experience unlike anything else in the area.

There's a lot more to do at the park as well: you can fish and boat (non-motorized boats) in the 3 lakes, take a spin on the biking trail, hike the wooded area on site, and visit the museum to learn more about the history of PPG and the relics that are left on display.

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